Verse 2. Blessed be the name of the LORD. While praising him aloud, the people were also to bless him in the silence of their hearts, wishing glory to his name, success to his cause, and triumph to his truth. By mentioning the name, the Psalmist would teach us to bless each of the attributes of the Most High, which are as it were the letters of his name; not quarrelling with his justice or his severity, nor servilely dreading his power, but accepting him as we find him revealed in the inspired word and by his own acts, and loving him and praising him as such. We must not give the Lord a new name nor invent a new nature, for that would be the setting up of a false god. Every time we think of the God of Scripture we should bless him, and his august name should never be pronounced without joyful reverence.
From this time forth. If we have never praised him before, let us begin now. As the Passover stood at the beginning of the year it was well to commence the new year with blessing him who wrought deliverance for his people. Every solemn feast had its own happy associations, and might be regarded as a fresh starting place for adoration. Are there not reasons why the reader should make the present day the opening of a year of praise? When the Lord says, "From this time will I bless you," we ought to reply, "Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth."
And for evermore: eternally. The Psalmist could not have intended that the divine praise should cease at a future date however remote. "For evermore" in reference to the praise of God must signify endless duration: are we wrong in believing that it bears the same meaning when it refers to gloomier themes? Can our hearts ever cease to praise the name of the Lord? Can we imagine a period in which the praises of Israel shall no more surround the throne of the Divine Majesty? Impossible. For ever, and more than "for ever," if more can be, let him be magnified.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 2. Blessed be the name of the LORD. Let then, O man, thy labouring soul strive to conceive (for 'tis impossible to express) what an immense debt of gratitude thou owest to him, who by his creating goodness called thee out of nothing to make thee a partaker of reason and even a sharer of immortality with himself; who by his preserving goodness designs to conduct thee safe through the various stages of thy eternal existence; and who by his redeeming goodness hath prepared for thee a happiness too big for the comprehension of a human understanding. Canst thou receive such endearments of love to thee and all mankind with insensibility and coldness? ... In the whole compass of language what word is expressive enough to paint the black ingratitude of that man who is unaffected by, and entirely regardless of, the goodness of God his Creator and the mercies of Christ? --Jeremiah Seed, 1747.
Verse 2. Blessed be the name of the LORD, etc. No doubt the disciples that sat at that paschal table would repeat with mingled feelings of thanksgiving and sadness that ascription of praise. Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore. But what Israelite in all the paschal chambers at Jerusalem on that night, as he sang the hallel or hymn, or which of the disciples at the sorrowing board of Jesus, could have understood or entered into the full meaning of the expression, "from this time forth?" From what time? I think St. John gives us a clue to the very hour and moment of which the Psalmist, perhaps unconsciously, spake. He tells us, that when the traitor Judas had received the sop, he immediately went out; and that when he was gone out to clench as it were and ratify his treacherous purpose, Jesus said, "Now is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in Him." From that time forth, when by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, the Son of man was about to be delivered into the hands of wicked men, and crucified and slain, as Jesus looked at those around him, as sorrow had indeed filled their hearts, and as with all seeing, prescient eye he looked onwards and beheld all those that should hereafter believe on him through their word, with what significance and emphasis of meaning may we imagine the blessed Jesus on that night of anguish to have uttered these words of the hymn, "Blessed be the name of the LORD from this time forth and for evermore"! "A few more hours and the covenant will be sealed in my own blood; the compact ratified, when I hang upon the cross." And with what calm and confident assurance of triumph does he look upon that cross of shame; with what overflowing love does he point to it and say, "And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me"! It is the very same here in this Paschal Psalm; and how must the Saviour's heart have rejoiced even in the contemplation of those sufferings that awaited him, as he uttered this prediction, "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same the LORD'S name is to be praised"! "That which thou sowest is not quickened except it die:" and thus from that hour to the present the Lord hath added daily to the church those whom in every age and in every clime he hath chosen unto salvation, till, in his own appointed fulness of time, from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, all nations shall do him service, and the "earth be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." --Barton Bouchier.
Verse 2. From this time forth and for evermore. The servants of the Lord are to sing his praises in this life to the world's end; and in the next life, world without end. --John Boys.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The work of heaven begun on earth: to praise the name of the Lord.
- The work of earth continued in heaven: "and for evermore." If the praise begun on earth be continued in heaven, we must be in heaven to continue the praise. --G. R.
- It is time to begin to praise: "from this time." Is there not special reason, from long arrears, from present duty, etc.?
- There is no time for leaving off praise: "and for evermore." None supposable or excusable.